Drug performance in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) plays a crucial role in determining release and absorption. In the present work, we assessed the in vitro digestion of two synthetic N1-aryl-2-arylthioacetamidobenzimidazoles (NAABs), NAAB-496 and NAAB-503, using bio-relevant models of the human stomach and small intestine. The activity of NAAB-496 and NAAB-503 against herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) replication was also investigated. NAAB-496 was resistant to pepsin in the gastric environment, with a virtual 100% recovery, which decreased to 43.2% in the small intestine. NAAB-503 was sensitive to pepsin, with 65.7% degradation after 120 min gastric phase. 1H Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) post in vitro digestion highlighted an alteration of NAAB-496 after the gastric phase, whereas NAAB-503 appeared comparable to the original spectral data. Both NAAB-496 and NAAB-503 revealed some antiviral activity anti-HSV-1. The 50% effective concentration (EC50) of the compounds was 0.058 mg/mL for NAAB-496 and 0.066 for NAAB-503. Future studies will evaluate the behavior of NAAB-496 within pharmaceutical formulations.
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